James Clauer’s The Aluminum Fowl, a 14-minute documentary, addresses a lot of issues you are probably curious about: animal fights, protection from alien intrusion through aluminum foil, setting fire to garbage... As is natural in an art gallery setting, I walked in half way through the looped screening. When I did I saw an African American teen in boxer shorts with a chicken sitting in a bathtub, followed by a pile of garbage being set aflame. Absent an omniscient narrator and only occasional voice over, Clauer let’s his sympathies for the subjects come across through the tragic, comic and moving flow of the off kilter narrative. With budgets for artist’s videos skyrocketing (apparently trying to keep up with auction prices), The Aluminum Fowl proves that what really matters is a clear vision and a compelling subject handled with sensitivity, grace and empathy.
(*Image: James Clauer, The Aluminum Fowl, Septmber 6 - October 13, 2007; The Aluminum Fowl (still), 2006, 14 minute video, Courtesy of Cynthia Broan Gallery.)